Australian police seize Ruby Princess cruise ship’s “black box” during coronavirus homicide investigation

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Australian police have seized the “black box” of the cruise ship Ruby Princess, which is currently the focus of a homicide investigation into a fatal coronavirus outbreak linked to the ship.

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New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller said on Thursday that investigators had spoken to the captain of the ship, who was “extremely helpful,” and had also collected the ship’s electronic journals.

“The ships have a black box very similar to that of international planes, and that and other evidence has been seized for further investigation,” Fuller said in a television news briefing Thursday, by Reuters.

The cruise ship Ruby Princess, seen here docked in Port Kembia in New South Wales on April 6, is at the center of a criminal investigation by New South Wales police.

The cruise ship Ruby Princess, seen here docked in Port Kembia, New South Wales on April 6, is the subject of a New South Wales police investigation.
(Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

On April 4, Fuller confirmed a criminal investigation into the landing of the Ruby Princess, which is operated by Princess Cruises, itself a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. At the time, the vessel was linked to at least 662 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. By Thursday, the death toll had risen to 15, reports Reuters.

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In the weeks following the docking of the ship, controversy erupted over the landing of nearly 2,700 passengers on March 19. New South Wales health officials said at the time that a dozen passengers did not feel well and had been tested for COVID-19 – although others did not were alerted to this update, finally leaving the ship without control, then returning home.

“The key question that remains unanswered … Was Carnival, or the crew, transparent to contextualize the true patient / crew health conditions relevant to COVID-19?” “He said at the April 4 press conference.

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“There is clear evidence that [COVID-19] has been brought back from this ship, “Fuller said during the briefing, but confirmed that the investigation would investigate whether Carnival had minimized the symptoms of the passengers and crew before docking.

“The only way to find out if our national biosafety laws and our national laws have been broken is through a criminal investigation,” he added later.

A Carnival representative said he would “vigorously respond” to the survey in a statement shared with Fox News earlier this week.

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About 1,000 crew members remained on the ship on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Janine Puhak of Fox News contributed to this report.

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